British assistance to the Maldives in the area of human resources development began in the 1960s. Initially, assistance was provided under the British Partnership Scheme. Since May 1996, all assistance has bas been channelled under the Small Grants Scheme. Assistance from the UK to the Maldives has been mainly targeted towards human resources development.
The UK Department for International Development (DfID), through its office in Colombo, is an active contributor to development in the Maldives. DfID has close working relationships with VSO, NGOs and, of course, the Maldives Government. Most UK development assistance to the Maldives is channelled through multilateral agencies, including the UN, World Bank and Asian Development Bank.
DFID swung into action in the immediate aftermath of the Tsunami with a pledge of £50 million in aid, providing assistance in the form of landing craft, vehicles, and humanitarian relief supplies such as bottled water.
Other UK government-funded projects in the Maldives have included public health campaigns, child protection initiatives, and the provision of basis education. Under the Volunteer Services Overseas (VSO) programme, several volunteers have been serving in the Maldives since 1981. Currently, there are 26 VSO volunteers in the Maldives, working primarily in the education and healthcare sectors.